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Chinese and Western Parenting Styles

Chinese and Western Parenting Styles

Nature provides a child with the making, and parenting transforms the child into personality. Parenting teaches the child culture, enables it join the circle of people; proper upbringing can develop the child’s self-respect and respect towards people, courage and creativity, which determine preconditions for health and happiness. On the other hand, wrong parental education can destroy a child’s courage and zest for life, instill bad habits and develop egoism. The choice between Western and Chinese techniques of parenting remains controversial. The former is characterized by the praise of child’s personality and democratic approach, while the latter is an example of the authoritarian model of parenting. However, only the proportional combination of the two mentioned systems can provide the parenting model that is capable of raising the fully developed personality as it gives both the necessary restrictions on discipline and the space for child’s creative development.

Amy Chua in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother describes her experience in Chinese parenting with her daughters. The main principal of this approach is that nothing can be exciting and funny if it is not mastered (Chua 36). It means that the child can not a priori experience something that will be funny and exciting, unless he or she masters the definite kind of activity. The system of rules deprives her daughters of the simple teenagers’ activities like sleepover, watching TV, or playing in school plays. All these activities are represented as useless and are just a waste of time. Instead, a child should take piano-violin classes and do oppressing trainings in order to achieve success at school; and if there is a problem at school, it means that parents do not cope with their responsibilities (Chua 13). I think such parenting technique implies several advantages. The first is that it does teach children to work on achieving something. Nothing becomes unattainable; all goals are just the mtter of time, practicing and parents’ insistence. I agree with a thought that even the worst parents can do a lot for child’s self-esteem, which is to teach them not to give up, so they become confident (Chua 68). Such philosophy helps to bring up inner courage and self-confidence showing a child that all challenges that he or she faces are just natural parts of the process of development, which should be accepted not like a stop sign, but like a direction for the further self-improvement.

However, I think such approach is too limited. It seems like the parents who choose this technique are just afraid of the possible creative potential that requires more efforts and unordinary decisions than just simple planning of restrictions, and thus use this approach as a kind of template for being sure that they “did their best”. Marking her daughter Sophia as “rational temperament” and Lulu as “hot-tempered” Chua underlines the matching of the former to the Chinese parent technique and at the same time diminishes the creative and rebellion nature of her younger daughter. With help of her insistence, her children can become skillful specialists, but not the great personalities as they are captured in her restrictions. They can enjoy mastering the music, but not the music by itself (Rosin). Besides, constant pressure on the child in terms of education can lead to the inferiority complex, suicide or even more – accidents like stabbing a mother by sixteen years old Chinese because of the too high standards she was required (Rosin).

The Western type of parenting also implies certain advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it gives an opportunity to children to make more choices by themselves. I think that tolerant attitude to the education experiences provides children with the warm and participating atmosphere that determines the creating of the original ideas and thoughts, as far as the process is concentrated not on “scoring”, but on “comprehension” of the material.  Rosin in her article “Mother Inferior” provides an example with her stepmother playing with her daughter using play-and-dough and toothpicks. Making different figures and leading informal conversation the activity transformed into the kind of studying. The author points out those educative messages that her stepmother taught her daughter while playing: the Letter E, The notion of Hannibal and “pachyderm” (Rosin). This example shows that it is real to make learning process funny and engaging without stressful oppression that can deprive a child of the further desire to study. The main idea Rosin implies in her article is that “success will not make you happy” (Rosin). I agree with such approach, because while concentrating on the result children miss the joy of the process that sometimes even more educative and useful. However, Western technique’s main disadvantage is its too democratic approach. In some cases parents tend to justify their children’s failures instead of analyzing objectively and making children work harder. The exaggerate appreciation of child’s freedom can lead to the simple disobedience and lack of self-discipline.

To my mind, the ideal variant would be a combination of Western and Chinese styles. It can be managed in the following way. Playing small second parts in the school theater is better for a child’s development and it gives an opportunity to improve oratory skills, rather than prohibit the participation at all. Parties as a way of life is not the case, but attending parties just for a few months is useful and important for the adolescent experience. Watching a popular movie four times is not reasonable, but it makes sense to get acquainted with a new film in order not to be a black sheep in the classroom. The situation is similar with sport: the idea that sport is mandatory is not discussed, but parents should decide together with their children what sport in particular to take up.

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